The first part of counselling for depression is to identify whether or not depression is what needs to be treated. A counsellor will examine your symptoms and look for key signals of an existing mood disorder. Depression mood disorders include Major Depression, Chronic Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Manic Depression and Clinical Depression. By discussing daily habits, moods and lifestyle changes a trained practitioner can ascertain the type of depression and the severity. The symptoms of depression can be displayed in a variety of ways including apathy, irritability, agitation and excessive sleeping or eating to name a few. Sometimes though there are no external symptoms and one just experiences an uncomfortable amount of inner turmoil.
Here is a list of potential of signs of depression:
- Feeling sad on a daily or often basis
- No longer enjoying things that once gave pleasure
- Changes in eating behaviour and weight loss or gain
- Oversleeping or the experience of insomnia
- Feeling a general lack of energy or fatigue with no physical explanation
- Excessive feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worry
- Difficulty with decision making
- Thoughts of suicide and death
Once depression has been surmised then the process of treatment can begin. Treatment for depression can include prescription medications provided by a doctor but rarely should be treated by medication alone as often there are benefits to modifying one’s perspective or evaluating coping mechanisms. In the case of Chronic Depression, negative thought patterns may be present and counselling practices such as Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be very helpful. Cognitive behavioural therapy examines our behaviour and thoughts and focuses on addressing self-defeating thoughts and negative behaviours. Whereas Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy combines both the methods of cognitive therapy with mindfulness techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation.
Therapy and Making Changes
Typically an assortment of methods and lifestyle changes are instrumental in treating depression and counselling will provide support and guidance in doing so. Other methods for counselling for depression include Interpersonal therapy and solution-focused therapy. Interpersonal therapy focuses on how you relate with the people in your life and how you communicate and express yourself to them. Social behaviours such as assertiveness, aggressiveness or timidness in family, work or social relations can cause a lack of satisfaction or depression. A large number of people who suffer from depression display ineffective social skills and by applying practical methods as relayed through interpersonal therapy new communication skills can be learned. When new skills are applied and different results are experiences then the lack of satisfaction or depression can be greatly alleviated.
Solution-focused therapy for depression is therapy with an emphasis on identifying solutions to underlying life situation problems and a focus on future wellness rather than on current or past hurt. With this type of therapy, it is not that occurrences of the past or existing pain or trauma are ignored but that reflection on these points is brief and the mainstay of therapy is focused on solutions and wellness goals.
Counselling for Depression is a Team Effort
It is essential that if you are experiencing depression you actively participate in your recovery. Be prepared to answer questions honestly and openly. Do your best to describe your feelings and any noticeable changes in your behaviour or experiences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and understand that there is no quick fix to overcoming depression but counselling along with either medication or lifestyle changes can work. You will see improvements the more you participate and follow recommended practices. Our counsellors are here to guide and support you in the process of healing and discovering a life free from depression.